Beauty and Tragedy on the River

21 May 2018

Tim is an ordinary Aussie guy living a very unordinary life. God has led him far from his coastal home south of Sydney, and into the jungles of Peru.  Tim is working amongst the Kichwa people on the Napo river, which runs from Ecuador into Peru, eventually feeding into the Amazon River.

Tim is based in a town, and takes ministry trips up the river. River ministry requires the right kind of transport and so Tim and his team leader had a canoe custom-made for them. It’s about 7 metres long and Tim says “it’s the most beautiful canoe I’ve ever seen. I’ve only crashed it once so far but there’s plenty of time for more adventures in the near future.”

For Tim, working with the Kichwas is definitely worth the physically challenges of the river, the jungle, and sickness.  The Kichwas are an indigenous people group with a strong connection to the river, the land and nature.  In his recent update Tim shared this confronting story:

A Kichwa girl about fifteen years old was found dead in the jungle a couple of weeks ago, her body had already started to decompose. She was from a community upriver very close to where we hold the disciple workshops. Like many adolescents, she had apparently come to the town of Santa Clotilde to study at the local high school. In place of studying, she ended up working for the people that were ‘looking after her’ here in Santa. These same people failed to report her as missing.

There are different ideas about her death; some have speculated that her guardians here killed her to avoid paying her for her labour, others say that it was a case of abuse by a young man who left town around the same time. Whatever the case, the incident highlights the common and palpable mistreatment of the indigenous population by other Peruvians, whether in action or in attitude. The revolutionary idea that every person has been made in the image of their Creator and therefore has an inherent worth, which is invaluable, has not yet taken root here.

At her funeral, her mother was mourning, singing a song of lament in Kichwa. This kind of terrible event sends ripples of unrest out into the Kichwa communities.

Pray with us for this girl’s mother and family, that they would find hope in the midst of horrible tragedy. That this hope would find it’s culmination in Christ, who knows the deepest tragedy and the greatest of hopes.

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